Sunday, April 21, 2013


This is a repeat of a post from January.  This particular post was getting so many anonymous "check out my blog" comments that we deleted the original and reposted it here:)

First of all, I want to say that I had a very good reason for not writing last night.  I'll leave it at that!  But because I promised 50 posts in 50 days, I plan on doubling up one day--- sound ok?  (:

I've realized that we never did post the rest of our pictures from China.  As you may recall, we had a lousy internet connection there and had a super difficult time posting pictures.  So... this is a catch-up post to satisfy the grandmas' desires to see more China pics!

Us with Graci's "China Mama" and "China Baba" (foster parents for four years-- we LOVE them!)

Jesi holding Ling Long (Graci's "neice")  Notice the spread on the table-- this wasn't the kitchen table, just the table in the living room.  It was ALWAYS filled with all kinds of food that they were constantly offering us.  Such AMAZING hostesses!

China Mama and Baba and aunt and uncle-- taken in the aunt and uncle's home

Jesi and Ling Long-- they referred to Jes as Ling Long's "Auntie Jessica" (;  and as you may recall, they refer to us as Ling Long's "America Grandma and Grandpa"  Ha!  I didn't think I would be ready to be called "Grandma," but honestly, I loved it!  It was so much fun to hold her and realize that many of our own grandchildren could look so much like her!

Jesi was seriously like a rock star at Graci's former school.  The kids would touch her hand and then sway dramatically as if they had just touched the hand of Taylor Swift.  As you can imagine, Jesi ate it up.

"China Brother" holding Grace and Bei Bei (Graci's friend)

At a zoo in Hangzhou-- they don't exactly have the same safety precautions there as in America.

Feeding carrots to the bears!

One of my all-time favorite pics of one of my all-time favorite people-- Graci's "China Grandma"

Saying goodbye at the airport is always so hard, especially for China Mama.

Our "guide" turned friend, Sara, is on the left.  We LOVE her, and she has become part of Graci's China family since our initial adoption trip to get Graci.  They have taken her in as one of their own--  she was even there for the birth of Ling Long.

Gotcha Day-- taken moments after seeing Cali for the first time.  Such a beautiful moment.

Taken right after Cali was saying her goodbyes to her house mama, top left.  Lots of tears.  Such a brave little girl.  It broke my heart to watch her sadness-- I can hardly bear to look at the picture even now.
Taken the day after Gotcha Day, when we returned to the Civil Affairs office to make it all official!

Cali signing the papers saying she wished to join our family.  I believe Jeremy blogged about how special this was to watch...

Beautiful handwriting!

Ok, I just LOVED this family!  They were from Spain and they were seriously one of the cutest couples I have ever met!  This is their second day being parents-- beautiful!

We were given this gift of calligraphy by one of the officials to celebrate the finalization

Meeting Cali's biological relatives.  Above right is her grandmother.  Between Jeremy and myself is her auntie, and the man is the auntie's husband (whom she doesn't really refer to as "uncle")

Cali and auntie

Cali and granma

Saying goodbye.  I am happy to say that it wasn't really hard for Cali-- as Duna (far right) said, she was already much more comfortable and happy with our family at that point.  We were so grateful for the opportunity to meet them, but Cali isn't really interested in keeping up a strong relationship at this point, which of course, we honor.

Xi'an smog-- ugh! 

Cali's scarf was given to her as a going away gift from her house mama, and she wore it all the time.  (:

Ok, this doesn't even begin to do it justice, but this is a pic of the Terracotta Warriors.  One of the most amazing things I have ever experienced.  This is just one building out of three.

The girls (especially Cali) thought it was extremely funny to have me be their "dog."  The lady in the pink coat was our guide.

It was soooo cold and we had been walking a long time.  Cali was so sweet to offer to let Jesi ride with her.

Out of the cold into beautiful Guangzhou

Pedal boats

We always get such a kick out of the English translations on signs!

Signing out!


What can a child expect from a parent?  Food.  Shelter.  Clothing.  Perhaps most basic of all:  love.  Why do parents love their children?  Simply because of the titles “child” and “parent?”  Flesh and blood bonds?  Because a child is so cute and perfect and helpless when they first arrive in this world?  This morning I read something that resonated with me.  “The deep love that binds parents to their children is forged by service to them through their period of total dependence.”

So how does a parent forge that love when their child comes to them long after the period of total dependence is over?  How does one welcome a 9-year-old or a 12-year-old into their home and instantly love them?  Can it be done?  How? I am sure that the answer is different for virtually every adoptive parent.  Some parents are more patient than others.  Some may have a greater capacity to love.  Some parents have an innate ability to see past difficult habits and behavior patterns a child may have developed and see right into the heart of the child. 

For me, I look at this journey as having two distinct parts.  First of all, I recognize that I have a duty, an obligation to love my children.  I’ve talked to enough dads that I know I’m not alone in this.  When our first biological child came along, I most certainly loved him.  Taylor was beautiful and precious, a gift from heaven.  But he was also smelly, cranky and an awful sleeper.  After a couple of months, I realized that my bond with him was less than I had hoped a father-son bond would be.  I loved him as a son, but the deep, meaningful relationship that Christi seemed to have with him just wasn’t there for me.  I felt kind of like a failure, and here I was just a few months into this whole parenthood thing. 

But I persevered.  Christi was patient with both of us.  I tried to do my duty and serve our little Taylor.  And then something happened.  He started to recognize me.  He got excited when I came home from work.  We could play one-year-old games together.  He began to talk.  I could make him laugh.  Suddenly, part two of the journey began to fall into place.  Part two is simple: time.  Time with another human being allows a deeper, richer relationship to develop.  Time allows mutual understanding to occur.  Time gives opportunities to serve, to help, to coach.  I’ll never forget something my brother Matt said when he came to visit us in our home in Spanish Fork.  He and Carla brought their only child at the time, a three-month-old son, with them.  Matt saw me playing with Taylor and made the comment:  “Oh.  I see you got the interactive model.”  Matt’s dry humor is something I’ve always enjoyed:).

I had a beautiful moment with Graci yesterday, and she had no idea it even happened.  When we first got Graci, I loved her.  I was grateful for the opportunity to bring this precious little spirit into our lives.  But I quickly realized that although she was about the same age as Taylor and Parker, I didn’t and couldn’t have the same relationship with her that I had with them.  While I could fully love her as my daughter, I had not had the chance to spend the time with her that I had with the boys.  It was impossible for an adoption certificate to recreate hours and hours and years and years of parks and parties, lectures and lessons, cuddles and comforts.  An adoption certificate simply can’t replace nine years of life lived together.

Yesterday morning as we were reading scriptures, I was sitting next to Grace.  She’s not big into hugs and such, but I put my arm around her and pulled her close to me.  She stayed cuddled up next to me.  As I sat there, I suddenly realized that the time barrier was gone.  We had spent enough time and gone through enough life experiences together that, for me at least, we could round up to a “lifetime” of being family.  It was a beautiful realization.  I’m so glad we get to spend the rest of our lifetimes together.